Sequestration leads to funding cuts for drug task forces - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sequestration leads to funding cuts for drug task forces

Posted: Updated:
Bust our budget and we won't be able to make the drug busts. That's the message Holmes County Sheriff Willie March is spreading. Bust our budget and we won't be able to make the drug busts. That's the message Holmes County Sheriff Willie March is spreading.
DPS had to go back to the budget drawing board when they got word of the cuts. DPS had to go back to the budget drawing board when they got word of the cuts.
HOLMES COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There are 13 drug task force teams across the state, but funding cuts may leave their budgets bare.

These cuts are a result of sequestration. The federal public safety grants coming into Mississippi were cut by over half -- from $5 million to $1.9 million.

Bust our budget and we won't be able to make the drug busts. That's the message Holmes County Sheriff Willie March is spreading.

"Without that, I just don't see how we're going to function," said March.

Money for drug courts, crime fighting in high-crime areas and drug task forces all fall under the same funding umbrella.

"Obviously we'd love to fund everything but of course we were cut by the federal government, which forced us to decide. We've been funding the task forces for almost 30 years, 28 years," said Warren Strain with the Department of Public Safety.

So, DPS had to go back to the budget drawing board when they got word of the cuts.

"There was a series of meetings between representatives of law enforcement, the courts, victim advocates, prosecutors and the decision was made to fund these programs as opposed to the task forces," explained Strain.

Sheriff March has been worried ever since he saw the letter notifying departments of the cuts.

"At least let everybody take a hit. Let drug courts take a hit and let us take a hit. And at least try to work together instead of just cut us out," argued March.

Because his sheriff's department is small, he says they rely on the area's drug task force to keep the drug problems under control.

"In our area, it's definitely going to open up the floodgates, for lack of a better word. You don't have an undercover agent actually out there working drugs, you have a uniform officer," said March.

Sheriff March says some of the task forces may be able to use local resources but they just aren't there for his agency.

"It's going to be a struggle to keep the task force afloat. It's almost impossible. We're going to do the best we can. Maybe hold on three months," March said.

The Department of Public Safety says that while the cuts leave gaps, there are other resources like the Bureau of Narcotics that can be used to fill the void.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Gunshots inside a Gulfport home; one person is dead

    Gunshots inside a Gulfport home; one person is dead

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:39 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:39:15 GMT
    Gulfport police and the Harrison County coroner are investigating another murder. The coroner confirms an autopsy was being performed Wednesday on the victim.
    More >>
    Gulfport police and the Harrison County coroner are investigating another murder. According to a Gulfport Police Department news release, gunshots inside a Gulfport home killed a Carson Drive resident. Two suspects reportedly entered that home late Tuesday night and assaulted the victim while he slept. During that struggle, police report a gun went off, and a bullet struck the victim.More >>
  • Coroner: Girl's body was found in abandoned trailer's bathroom

    Coroner: Girl's body was found in abandoned trailer's bathroom

    Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
    It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer.More >>
    It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer. Coroner Gary Hargrove said Janaya's body was found in a bathroom.More >>
  • Two arrested for St. Martin burglary, TV theft

    Two arrested for St. Martin burglary, TV theft

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:44 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:44:17 GMT
    Investigators in Jackson County say two men who broke into a St. Martin home and stole a large television were arrested after they sold the TV a short time later.More >>
    Investigators in Jackson County say two men who broke into a St. Martin home and stole a large television were arrested after they sold the TV a short time later.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.